Short Imagined Monologues
Send your short imagined monologues to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Ketchup Company Executive Would Like to Clarify the Conversation He Had With His Fellow Co-workers About Blowing Up Their Rival’s Ketchup Factory.
BY SETH REISS
So wait a minute, we were joking? Really? That whole time?
The whole time we were talking about blowing up the Heinz Ketchup factory during work last Friday we were all just being funny? Are you sure? Because I could have sworn we were dead set on blowing up the Heinz factory by the time our lunch break was over. But now you’re saying all that explosion talk was… what, banter? Hmm.
Just real fast though, do you remember when Tim said, “The only way for us here at Hunts to be the #1 ketchup in America is to blow up the goddamn Heinz factory,” and then everyone nodded their heads and laughed pretty good? Wasn’t that sort of like, “Ha! Of course! We’ve been trying to be the #1 ketchup for years. Why didn’t we think of blowing up the Heinz factory sooner?” laughter? Like “Tim, whaddaya know! Didn’t expect such a great idea from you, Tim!” laughter? No offense, Tim.
It was joke laughter? Weird. I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on that. I’m usually pretty good at knowing when people are joking or being serious… Well, I guess it wasn’t that obvious, Karen. I mean, here we are talking about whether it was a joke or not.
So, after Tim said what he said, and you all laughed (which I now know to be genuine laughter and not a thumbs-up, all systems go, let’s-blow-the-place-up type of laughter) I responded, “I have a cousin in Pittsburgh who has access to explosives.” Am I to understand the reason you laughed at that was because you all thought I was adding to the gag, and expanding on the joke world established by Tim’s initial comment?
You know what I’m talking about, right? The joke world: the world created by riffing off the core joke, which in this case was apparently blowing up the Heinz factory. John, your comment after Tim’s about infiltrating the factory by killing the night guards was part of the joke world. Though, to be perfectly honest, it sounded like a pretty brilliant idea to me. So, even though I didn’t know it at the time, my phone call to my cousin was actually expanding the joke world.
But guys, when have you ever known me to make a joke like that? I’ve brought up my cousin before, but never in a joking context. Or is that why you thought it was funny. Because it was a switch on what I typically do, which is talk pretty seriously about my cousin, who, as you all know, has some pretty severe emotional problems. I mean, I guess I can see how that could be kind of funny, but I don’t think it’s hilarious or anything. It’s pretty dark, actually. I never pegged you guys as people who like dark humor.
So bear with me here. When I was talking to my cousin about various explosive devices and different ways of getting the schematics to the Heinz factory, you were all laughing uproariously because… why? Ah, you thought I was making a fake telephone call and supplying answers to fake questions. I see. So your laughter had actually nothing to do with Hunts being the #1 ketchup in America, and everything to do with the complete ridiculousness of me pretending to talk to an imaginary person.
What’s that, David? I really sold it? Yeah, I suppose if I was in your shoes I really did sell the phone call, but once again, making fake telephone calls is not really in my comedic repertoire. I’m usually more of a witty comment here or there type of guy, not a gag guy. I really don’t do bits.
It was my deadpan delivery that made it work? That’s what you thought was so funny? Huh.
Just to be clear, when I said, “It looks like my cousin can help us out. I am going to blow up the Heinz factory this weekend,” and you all responded, “Yeah, you go do that,” and “Finally,” and “This guy!” you obviously saw it as me taking the joke to it’s utmost logical conclusion, closing the door on the joke world, and ushering us back into the normal world.
Boy, do I feel like an idiot.
To be fair, though, you understand why I thought you were all being serious, right? After all, the only way that Hunts ketchup would ever take over Heinz as the #1 ketchup in America would be to fly to Pittsburgh after work, get the schematics of the factory, kill the night guards, find the weak spots in the building’s infrastructure, set up the explosives, get back on a plane, and detonate all the bombs Monday morning from a remote location just when all those smug little bastard Heinz employees were showing up for work.
I’m taking that concerned expression on your faces to mean that, because we are now America’s #1 ketchup, we have a lot more responsibility to our consumers.
Dan, who are you calling? Put the phone down, Dan.
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